In the aerospace and defense sector, cybersecurity is crucial for maintaining trust and meeting regulatory demands. This piece focuses on our IT and cybersecurity partner Atomus, led by Co-Founder Joel Joseph.
In the competitive landscape of the aerospace and defense industry, cybersecurity is not just a requirement, but a cornerstone of trust and reliability. Companies operating in this sector face the dual challenges of innovating rapidly while ensuring that their technology meets the stringent cybersecurity regulations. In this featured story, we spotlight our IT and cybersecurity company Atomus and Co-Founder Joel Joseph.
We chose Atomus because of their focus exclusively on small businesses in the Aerospace and Defense industry needing to comply with NIST 800-171, DFARS 7012, and CMMC cybersecurity requirements. Everytime we hire a new employee, they get a preconfigured computer so that they are able to start working securely
“Cybersecurity is not just important for companies working on defense technology like we are, it is an essential component of every business today.” Circle Optics’ COO Ian Gauger
A Journey Born from Friendship and Service
Two of my closest friends from high school serve in the military. At the University of Southern California, I got to be mentored by leading professors in cybersecurity. But a lot of the research I was doing was very theoretical and wasn’t being applied in the real world. This changed one summer when my cofounder Kaushal Saraf and I started building cybersecurity software that was not only cutting edge in terms of technology but started being used by the US Military. What made the long hours worth it was knowing the work I was doing would help keep my friends in the military safe. In the early days it was really tough to balance Atomus with the advanced cybersecurity coursework, but what gave me a lot of perseverance was the strong sense of purpose my work at Atomus gave me.
While working on advanced cybersecurity software we were selling to the military, Kaushal and I realized that as vendors to the Department of Defense there were cybersecurity requirements we needed to have in place as a company which were really complicated for businesses to implement. We ran into this problem first hand. Together Kaushal and I took our experience and education to create a product dedicated to companies serving the Department of Defense and wider Aerospace and Defense industry. We doubled down on this niche becoming experts and creating software that helped companies keep their military data secure and compliant so that it would be easier to work with the military and bring innovative technology to the warfighter.
Overcoming Early Challenges
Navigating the complexities of our initial contracts and carving out our niche required perseverance, adaptability, and an unyielding commitment. We really worked hard and put in the extra mile. In the early days that meant actually driving over to military bases to offer white glove support for our military customers because we learned that “being there” really mattered and helped build long term relationships with our customers. We also realized that success for Atomus required that both Kaushal and I transitioned from being excellent engineers to also becoming adept entrepreneurs.
In the 21st century, a company’s data is one of its most important assets. Our customer’s data contains the information for military systems that are needed to win the next war. Our customers put a lot of trust in us to best advise them on how to protect this data, and we show up every day and work hard to be deserving of that trust. Atomus is really uniquely positioned to serve our customers given that we build software, we uniquely understand our customers as fellow defense contractors, and we are tightly integrated with the Department of Defense which gives us access to special resources.
Leadership and Mission
The real value in working with the military is you get to support some really important customers and help protect our nation. You also have the privilege of building very long-term relationships with customers. Atomus, though small, is an extremely mission focused company. We have a strong mission that really resonates with our team members and we make sure that every member of our team understands and shares our sense of service to help keep our military safe.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
Remain focused and be passionate about what you do. It’s really easy to think there’s quick success everywhere in the world. But the entrepreneurs I admire the most have focus, a long term vision, and a commitment to a mission that was bigger than themselves. Instead of looking for the quick path to success, I would emphasize being patient, carefully planning, and being thoughtful with your actions. I highly recommend “EntreLeadership” by Dave Ramsey. It’s one of my favorite books and does a good job of combining the fundamental principles of entrepreneurship and leadership into a holistic approach for business.
Circle Optics Case Study
You can read more about our decision to use Atomus in the case study, “How Circle Optics Streamlined and Secured IT Systems for Compliance.”